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Friday, May 20th, 2022

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine more than 89 percent effective in UK trial

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Novavax, Inc. demonstrated a strong showing of its COVID-19 vaccine last week, posting an 89.3 percent efficacy in a United Kingdom-based phase three trial, conducted in partnership with the UK government’s Vaccines Taskforce.

Notably, this vaccine was also pitted against variants of the disease now sweeping the world, including the UK variant and, in a separate trial, the South African variant. In the former, NVX-CoV2373 — the vaccine — was offered to more than 15,000 participants in the UK between 18 and 84 years old, 27 percent of whom were over 65. In all, 62 cases of COVID-19 emerged, of which 56 popped up in those given placebos. The only severe case took place in the placebo group.

“With today’s results from our UK Phase 3 and South Africa Phase 2b clinical trials, we have now reported data on our COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1, 2, and 3 trials involving over 20,000 participants,” Stanley Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, said. “NVX-CoV2373 is the first vaccine to demonstrate not only high clinical efficacy against COVID-19 but also significant clinical efficacy against both the rapidly emerging UK and South Africa variants.”

Efficacy did vary strain by strain. Against the original COVID-19 strain, the vaccine was approximately 95.6 percent effective, while 85.6 percent effective against the UK variant. Severe, serious, and medically attended side effects were also kept to low levels.

In a phase 2b study conducted in South Africa, the vaccine proved less effective. Trial participants were divided into two groups: the HIV-positive and the HIV-negative. Among the HIV-positive, efficacy was 49 percent, although the group tested consisted of approximately 150 people. It was 60 percent effective against those without HIV. More than 4,400 patients were tested overall. The study also suggested that prior infection with COVID-19 may not completely protect against subsequent infection by the South Africa variant.

“The 60% reduced risk against COVID-19 illness in vaccinated individuals in South Africans underscores the value of this vaccine to prevent illness from the highly worrisome variant currently circulating in South Africa, and which is spreading globally,” professor Shabir Maddi, executive director of the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA) at Wits and principal investigator in the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial in South Africa, said. “This is the first COVID-19 vaccine for which we now have objective evidence that it protects against the variant dominating in South Africa.”

The vaccine also requires mere refrigeration for shipment and storage, not deep freeze, as it can be stored between 35 degrees Fahrenheit and 46 degrees Fahrenheit.